Benefits of ice bath: 5 reasons why you should take a dip in cold water

Taking a plunge in cold water is a ritual many professionals swear by. From reducing inflammation to promoting mental health, the benefits of ice bath are many. Read on to find out more!
Benefits of ice cold bath
Know the benefits of ice cold bath. Image courtesy: Freepik
Purvi Kalra Published: 1 Jan 2024, 18:30 pm IST
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Well, you must have witnessed a professional athlete take a plunge into an ice bath post a game. Or, maybe you are a fitness freak who swears by ice baths as a means of post-workout recovery. Ice cold baths are a form of cryotherapy in which cold water is used as a treatment for various health concerns. Many celebrities are fans of cold water plunges, with athletes to singers taking a dip every now and then – thanks to the many benefits of ice bath.

This practice isn’t new though, but it only gained popularity in recent years. People have used this healing technique of cold-water immersion to better their overall health for centuries. People who practise this technique claim that it helps curb inflammation, soothe sore muscles, promotes relaxation, and induces better sleep. If you are now wondering to take a cold-water plunge, then this one is for you!

Health Shots got in touch with Dr Priti Mahire, Cosmetologist and Trichologist, in Mumbai, to understand the benefits of ice baths.

Benefits of cold-water baths

Ice baths, a type of cold water therapy, have grown in popularity due to their potential benefits, particularly among athletes. However, before getting started, it’s critical to understand both the potential benefits and the potential drawbacks.

benefits of ice bath
Take that cold water plunge due to its many benefits. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

1. Relieves pain

Ice baths are commonly used to reduce muscle soreness and inflammation after strenuous exercise. The cold constricts blood vessels, limiting fluid build-up and inflammation at the site of muscle damage. The cold can numb pain receptors, providing temporary relief from conditions such as arthritis, and acute muscle spasms,” said Dr Priti Mahire.

2. Boosts memory and energy levels

The expert said, “Ice baths can improve mood and energy levels, possibly due to their effects on the nervous system and stress hormones”.

Exposing your body to cold water can trigger a stress response and can activate the nervous system. These changes induce a good mood, arming you with the ability to deal with stress over time

3. Promotes sleep

Cold water immersion can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which promotes sleep. Our bodies tend to feel relaxed after an ice bath and that leads to better sleep at night.

“Also, Ice baths may improve skin circulation and appearance, leading to youthful-looking skin,” added the expert.

4. Good for your heart

“Regular exposure to mild cold temperatures contributes to the continuous activation of the peripheral vascular system, inducing vasoconstriction in response to the cold and vasodilation when exposed to heat. This consistent modulation of vascular activity aids in training the cardiovascular system, promoting its overall health and resilience,” said the expert.

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5. Aids in weight loss

Obesity might seem like a manageable condition through simple measures like reducing energy intake or increasing energy expenditure. Short-term exposure to mild cold, for instance, enhances energy expenditure without altering food consumption, thus fostering weight loss.

Also read: Stop making these shower mistakes if you love your hair and skin!

What are the side effects of ice bath?

Some of the disadvantages of ice baths as per the expert include:

1. Discomfort and risks

Ice baths are uncomfortable by nature, and the initial shock of cold water can cause a gasp reflex or even a brief panic attack.

2. Skin irritation and ice burn

Prolonged exposure can cause ice burn, which is a localized area of reddened and irritated skin.

3. Cardiovascular concerns

Cold water constricts blood vessels, putting the heart under temporary strain. This can be dangerous for people who have cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease or high blood pressure.

4. Hypothermia risk

Prolonged immersion in ice water can result in dangerously low body temperature, particularly life-threatening in children and the elderly.
Other risks include fainting, dizziness, and headaches, especially in individuals with pre-existing medical conditions.


The potential benefits should be weighed against the risks and individual sensitivity to cold water. Always prioritize safety and consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice before following any therapy or a celebrity hack.

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About the Author

After testing her skill-set in the field of management and marketing, Purvi Kalra is exploring the world of turning thoughts to words. Her penchant for writing stems for being an avid reader all her life. Her work drives her to be better every day. ...Read More

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